Day 8 of Cody’s San Juan Islands Cruise

Cody spends the day in Roche Harbor exploring and seeing the sights –

roche harbor mausoleumThe wind forecast or the day had called for a sustained breeze of about 17 knots from the north. This, I figured, was probably not the best type of day for us to make our longest jump from Roche Harbor, all the way back to Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island, so we made the decision to stay put for the day. Roche Harbor is a beautiful resort town on the northwest tip of San Juan Island. The marina is full of numerous multi-million dollar yachts and the resort is quite an upscale place. It is all built around an old lime and concrete quarry operation which operated in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We had ice cream, browsed the few shops there, and hiked to an eerie old mausoleum secluded in a forest which more closely resembles a site for ceremonies than any other mausoleum I’ve ever seen. Although slightly creepy, it is a beautiful setting and structure and I would happily recommend the hike to go see it.

Roche HarborWe made it back into Roche Harbor from our hike just in time to watch their nightly “colors” ceremony where the entire place comes to a standstill as the flags are lowered to their various anthems. I nearly had a cardiac event when they set off a small cannon just before lowing the old stars and stripes. It seemed that only the three of us from our boat were startled by it, so I’m guessing we were some of the only first timers there.

 
Earlier in the day I had bumped into one of the old sailors I’ve known and raced against back in southeast Washington. He and his wife had brought their Seaward 26 up to the islands for a few weeks, a trip which they make nearly every summer. They showed us great hospitality and invited us to enjoy a ginger beer aboard their lovely boat. Another great help they offered us was to leave our portable phone charging power bank to charge on their shore power overnight. This was our only means of electrical power and I would hook it up to a 15w solar panel during the day to charge and then we would all charge our phones off of the battery at night. This worked well when I was alone, but you can imagine how much cell phone usage (and associated charging needed) happens when you have two young women in their late 20’s and early 30’s on vacation together sailing through and exploring beautiful islands. Needless to say, our battery bank was nearly depleted and the overnight charge was much appreciated!

 
We were all exhausted again from the sun and busy day, so we went back out to the boat and watched an episode of Friends on Netflix while laying in bed. Not a single one of us was awake to see the end of that 20 minute episode.

Day 7 of Cody’s San Juan Islands Adventure

SageCat Sweet Potato goes from Jones Island to the famous destination of Roche Harbor –

We paddled ashore in the morning with our breakfast supplies and cooked a mountain of a meal.  Eggs, hash browns, warmed tortilla shells, coffee and some bananas really started the day off on the right foot.  After cleaning up and taking our cooking gear back to the boat, we set off to hike around Jones Island.  There is a nice path around the perimeter of the island which is about four miles long and provides some wonderful views of the surrounding islands and waters.  After our hike, we were all rather over heated so we paddled back to the boat, changed into swimsuits and went for a (rather short) swim!  The water in the islands hovers in the mid to low 50s year round and so you don’t see many swimmers in them and when you do, they tend not to linger too long.  

sailing near Jones IslandAfter cooling off, we stowed whatever gear we had out, weighed anchor, and headed off to our next stop, Roche Harbor, about six miles west and slightly north of our anchorage at Jones Island.  We again were treated to light breeze and calm seas for our day’s sail.  As we cruised along we listened to an audio book and enjoyed the sun and cool breeze.  We were able to sail the entire way to Roche Harbor, only dropping sail as we entered the crowded and bustling bay.  After a few minutes of motoring around and looking at my charts, struggling to find a spot suitable to anchor, I finally selected a spot to drop the hook very close to a beach and not too far from the full-to-the-brim guest dock.  After checking our depth and the tide charts, I decided that it would be most prudent to anchor off the bow with our primary anchor and off the stern with our secondary anchor to prevent us from swinging during the very low tide in the middle of the night toward the beach, which could possibly have left us with our keel resting on the bottom.  Stern anchor set, we inflated the SUP and headed into Roche Harbor for a couple hours of sight seeing before the sun set.  

It was during this evening that we noticed some very beautiful colors in the sunset, which alerted us to a thickening smoke in the air.  The previous day we had thought the air looked a bit hazy, but hadn’t thought much of it.  This evening was a different story.  As the sun sank low on the horizon, you could easily look straight at the dull orange ball.  Our air quality and crystal clear skies would not be nearly as pristine for the remainder of our cruise.  As it grew dark, we made our way back out to the boat and slept deeply as we were all exhausted from a long day of hiking, swimming, lounging during a sunny sail and exploring a new town.  A day well spent.  

Day 5 of Cody’s San Juan Island cruise

Cody is now in Friday Harbor and his crew arrives –

The arrival of the ferry on Sunday afternoon was a spectacle to behold.  The cars lining up to board the ferry were jockeying for position and more than once the woman directing cars had to yell at drivers who had an agenda of their own.  Stressed looking parents were trying to keep track of their small tribes among the throngs of people as I sat in a coffee shop overlooking the ferry landing, feeling quite carefree.  My only concern was about how well three adults and a small dog could exist in peace and harmony on a 15 foot boat.  Would we all hate each other after the first few days?  Would the boat’s performance suffer so badly from the weight that we would make painfully slow progress when traveling?  I had sailed on the Columbia River with three adults aboard and the boat had performed well, but now I had her loaded with a significant amount of cruising gear.  I decided we would be best to spend the first afternoon and night on the boat in Friday Harbor so we could get an idea of how we all would manage the tight quarters before sailing anywhere.  

Friday HarborAfter a fun day in Friday Harbor and a tasty dinner at a fish and chips place, we all made our way out to the boat for the evening.  From this point on, I would shuttle each of the girls out to the boat from the dock on the SUP.  The board seemed to do fine and was rather stable with two people on it so long as we were both kneeling.  I’m happy to report that after the entire 10 day trip not a single person or item took a fall off the SUP! I had planned to have the girls sleep in the v berth and I would sleep on a cockpit seat, but after all laying across the v berth to watch a Netflix show on my phone, we discovered that all three of us could lie flat on our backs, shoulder to shoulder.  Granted, our feet were somewhat crowded together, but being that we were each in a sleeping bag it didn’t seem to bother anyone and we all slept soundly. Even our dog, Occy, slept well in the cabin on a blanket we put on one of the cabin seats.

SageCat cruise report

SageCat owner Cody sent a report on his cruise of Washington State’s San Juan Islands in late July ’17 –

I had a fantastic cruise in the San juans aboard Sagecat! The first 4 days I spent alone shaking the boat down in cruising trim and the last 6 days and nights were with my wife and one of her best girlfriends and our dog. I was extremely cautious and tentative about how the boat would do with 3 adults and cruising gear aboard but she did great! Her sailing performance was still quite good and we were all able to sleep, cook and lounge aboard. I never tied up to a dock for the entire trip and used an inflatable SUP to shuttle the girls one at a time to shore each day! The v berth is a marvel as all 3 of us were able to sleep, albeit snugly, lying shoulder to shoulder. A big hats off to Jerry on the design and to you all at Sage Marine for a top notch build!

The pics below are of an approximation of our route and one of us at anchor on the south shore of Jones Island.

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Thanks for sharing Cody!

Feeding the body part 1 – where to cook and what with?

When talking about the Sage 17, or the other Jerry Montgomery designs I’ve owned an sailed, a common question is ‘where and how do you cook?’

Choosing a stove:

  • Never consider using a white gas fueled stove!  The fuel is much to dangerous to use on a boat.
  • Propane stoves are an option that I recommend if you choose a model where the burner doesn’t sit on top of the fuel canister.  The ‘burner on top’ design is unstable on a boat.  Forespar made a very nice gimbaled stove called the Mini-Galley … sadly the unit has been discontinued.  If you don’t mind drilling holes to mount one, and can find one, the Mini-Galley is the only ‘burner on top’ stove I recommend.
  • There are alcohol stoves.  I don’t recommend the pressurized models as they are prone to flame ups (watched my Mom burn hair off her hands many times on boats that had these stoves).  The low cost, or build your own ‘made out of a beer can’ styles. are not safe on a boat as they are not stable (like mentioned above when discussing propane stoves).  Origo makes a non-pressurized alcohol stove that is very good with a few limitations: the stove is expensive, large, and the alcohol fuel is expensive.  When considering alcohol be aware it doesn’t create a lot of heat … meaning heating water for the morning coffee will take a lllloooonnnngggg time.

An Origo one burner stove. Image Source: REIMO, www.reimo.com

    • Butane stoves are a good option.  Most of these stoves use a canister that mounts into the stove horizontally and to the side of the side the burner.  This means the stove is very stable as it is only a few inches tall and has a wide base.  The fuel costs are about the same as propane and the stoves are very low cost.  For the past nine years I’ve used a $25 ‘Max Burton’ butane stove.

A Max Burton butane stove. Image source: Max Burton Appliances, Image Source: Max Burton Appliances, www.maxburtonappliances.com

Where to cook:

There are real dangers in cooking on a boat.  The first is the issue of fire.  Be sure you understand how to use the stove by cooking a few meals on the unit at home.  A few test meals also allows you to see stove’s heating properties.

Be sure you use the stove in a location where you significantly limit the chance something will catch fire.  When cooking never leave the stove unattended.  You must have a fire extinguisher easily accessible and near where you are cooking.  If you are cooking in the cabin, do this only as a last resort (more on this later), be sure you have adequate ventilation so you, and others in the cabin, don’t asphyxiate.

My preference, and recommendation, is to cook in the cockpit.  This is safer and provides the chief with cooking space.

Cooking in Sage 17 AIR BORN's cockpit in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

Cooking in Sage 17 AIR BORN’s cockpit in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

‘But Dave, what do you do when the weather is poor?’

My first step is to still cook in the cockpit and I go below.  Small boats are nice in you can reach the stove from the companionway where you stay dry and out of the wind.

If the weather is REALLY bad I do cook in the Sage 17 cabin –

Cooking in Sage 17 AIR BORN's cabin on one of the seats.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Cooking in Sage 17 AIR BORN’s cabin on one of the seats. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Again, I will only cook in the cabin when the outdoor conditions make it impossible to use the stove.  Be aware that using a stove in the cabin you are in a very small space with limited egress if something in the cabin caught fire. As I wrote above, you must have a fire extinguisher easily accessible and near where you are cooking.  Keep adequate ventilation by having the forward hatch and companionway open so you, and others in the cabin, don’t asphyxiate and can quickly get out if there is a fire.

Stove fuel storage:

Obviously stove fuels are flammable and explosive.  All the stove fuels above, except alcohol, are heavier than air.  When storing fuel canisters never, again that word, place them in a location where leaking fuel can collect in the boat.  This means not in a cockpit locker or in the cabin.  If the a canister leaks the gas will settle in the bilge and a spark will case a HUGE EXPLOSION.  Take no chances and store the fuel in the cockpit where there is lots of air flow (I store the butane canisters at the aft end of the cockpit floor where I also keep the outboard engine gas can).  Another safe option is to put the canisters in a container with vents on the bottom that is hung over the side of the hull so any leaking gas goes overboard.

Above a PVC pipe is used to store fuel canisters. There are multiple holes in the bottom cap to make a vent so any leaking gas can escape. Attach to the boat, away from the board, so leaking gas goes overboard. Image source: Gatita – Sailing in San Francisco, www.gatita.sikdar.us

In the next post on this topic I discuss how I organize my galley.

– Dave

P.S.  A few hours after I this blog was posted Small Craft Advisor posted the following on their Facebook feed –

Read details about this solution on where to put the stove –

http://www.clcboats.com/life-of-boats-blog/build-a-small-boat-galley-box.html

A nicely done project.

Building a mast

The Sage 17 mast is provided by Dwyer Aluminum Mast Company.  Each mast arrived with the t-ball fittings, mast foot pivot pin and PVC pipe used to run electrical wire installed.  The fastener holes are also drilled & tapped for the masthead fitting & spreaders.

First task to putting the mast together is to remove the pivot pin and then remove the lower section of the PVC tubing.  The tubing needs to come out so it isn’t cut while I install the mast hardware.

Next I work from the foot of the mast and drill the fasterner holes for the hardware: exit plates for the halyards, ClamCleats for the reefing lines, gooseneck fitting, strapeye for the terminal ends of the reefing lines and cunningham, bolt rope feeder (or mastgate for boat owners wanting slugs on the main’s luff), main halyard cleat, and the exit block for the jib halyard at the hounds.

Fastener holes have been drilled.

Fastener holes have been drilled.

Once all the running and standing rigging fastener holes are set I will then cut the necessary fastener holes and pass-throughs for the masthead light (if ordered).  this includes holes at the foot and head of the mast for the wire to run though, strain relief strap for the wire and installing the masthead light bracket.

The faster holes for fittings near the masthead.  The bracket in place is for the masthead light.

The faster holes for fittings near the masthead. The bracket in place is for the masthead light.

Once all the holes are drilled I now re-install the bottom PVC pipe and run the masthead light wire.  The PVC conduit keeps the wire from slapping inside the mast (no fun to try sleeping with this noise) and assure the internal halyards don’t accidentally become twisted on the wire.

This picture is of the masthead light wire at the foot of the mats.  Look closely and see the PVC pipe used to run the wire up the mast.

This picture is of the masthead light wire at the foot of the mast. Look closely and see the PVC pipe used to run the wire up the mast.

With the wire in place I install the strain relief loop.  This is needed so the weight of the wire doesn’t pull the electrical connectors out of the masthead light.

Masthead light wire at the top of the mast is held with a strain relief loop - in this case a zip tie.

Masthead light wire at the top of the mast is held with a strain relief loop – in this case a zip tie.

Next I install the internal halyards (click here to read why the Sage 17 has internal halyards).  To assist in this I use a cast-off backstay wire that is lead through the mast.   I use this wire to pull the halyard.  Works real slick.

Here are the main halyard (white w/green fleck), jib halyard (white w/red fleck) and the old backstay wire used to pull the lines through the mast.

Here are the main halyard (white w/green fleck), jib halyard (white w/red fleck) and the old backstay wire used to pull the lines through the mast.

While running the main halyard I also take care not to get it wrapped around the last few feet, or top of, the wire heading to the masthead light.

An old backstay is run in the mast so make pulling the internal halyards an easy task.

An old backstay is run in the mast so make pulling the internal halyards an easy task.

When running the jib halyard I also take care it isn’t wrapping around the main halyard.

An old backstay wire has been pulled through the mast.  the jib halyard is run through a block, and then down to the entry hole into the mast.

An old backstay wire has been pulled through the mast. the jib halyard is run through a block, and then down to the entry hole into the mast.

The halyards installed now I fasten the mast hardware in place.  Most of the hardware is installed using stainless blind ‘pop’ rivets.  These rivets are very strong and require the use of an air driven pop rivet ‘gun’.

Installing mast hardware with an air powered pop rivet gun.  These ClamCleats (CL211s) are for the main's reefing lines.

Installing mast hardware with an air powered pop rivet gun. These ClamCleats (CL211s) are for the main’s reefing lines.

Only a few pieces of mast hardware are installed with machine screws: bolt rope feeder, main halyard cleat, spreader brackets, the upper fastener for the masthead light and the Windex bracket at the top of the masthead fitting.

The BoomKicker hardware, gooseneck fitting and bolt rope luff feeder have been installed.

The BoomKicker hardware (owner specified option), gooseneck fitting and bolt rope luff feeder have been installed.

Fittings installed and halyards in place.

Fittings installed and halyards in place.

Once all the hardware is installed I now compete the wiring for the masthead light.  This includes putting the plug to connect to the boat’s electrical system at the foot of the mast and installing the light onto the masthead bracket.

The masthead light and windex fittings have been installed.

The masthead light and windex fittings have been installed.

Getting close now.

I install the spreaders onto the spreader brackets and then the shrouds are put in place.  The Sage 17 uses t-ball fittings for the side stays and the forestay.  T-balls easily install with a twisting motion and then held in place, when slack, using a Gibb insert.  (click here to read about the brand of t-ball fitting used on the Sage 17 being changed.)

Spreader is installed onto the spreader bracket.

Spreader is installed onto the spreader bracket.

The split backstay with the hardware for the backstay adjuster.  at the other end is the diamond plate where the single backstay coming from the masthead is installed.

The split backstay with the hardware for the backstay adjuster. At the other end is the diamond plate where the single backstay coming from the masthead is installed.

The upper shrouds are installed and held in place with Gibb inserts (the black rubber things).  Also pictured is the jib halyard running into the mast.

The upper shrouds are installed and held in place with Gibb inserts (the black rubber things). Also pictured is the jib halyard running into the mast.

When the upper shrouds are installed I tape the outer end of the spreaders in the color appropriate to each side of the mast: red to port and green to starboard (you can see this in the picture below of the completed mast).

The mast is now done and ready to be installed on the boat.  I will cover installing the mast and turning the rig in another post.

The mast is complete and ready to be installed on the boat (pictured in background).

The mast is complete and ready to be installed on the boat (pictured in background).

– Dave

Getting ready for the Wrinkle Boat Ran Tan

The 4th annual Wrinkle Boat Ran Tan on Lake Pleasant AZ is fast approaching, Jan 16-18, and is going to be lots of fun.  Dave will have more to say about this event but here in the shop I have been working on a couple of small projects just for this event.  Some small trophies will be awarded to the lucky few and consist of mast parts that Dave cut up along with another novelty trophy for the sailor that traveled the greatest distance to make the event.

mast parts to be used as trophies

mast parts to be used as trophies

To make these somewhat attractive, I made some bases out of teak scraps I had laying around.  In order to attach the mast section I had to make small back pieces which were epoxied to the base.  A counter sink screw hole through the back allowed me to use a screw to fasten the mast piece.

attaching the back piece

attaching the back piece

Not a very complex project but it was a nice change of pace and they work as planned.  If you think you want one than plan on racing on lake pleasant and hopefully you have what it takes.

Nice trophy!

Nice trophy!

Matt